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West African schoolgirls take starring role in engineering competition in Senegal

The Pan-African Robotics competition (PARC) in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Saturday reflects the growing consciousness of science education as a top priority for a government growing the economy and getting development off the ground.

Rows of young women from Senegal, The Gambia and Mali distinct in their various uniforms – blue headscarves, black pinafores and white polo shirts – screamed for their teams as robots picked up plastic cones and dropped them onto markers, all adamant they would win.

Senegal’s Mariama-Ba all-girls academy won the high school category for a “made in Africa” pump solution to flooding, and girls were well represented in the winning 11-15 age group on Saturday after showing off their robotics skills.

“Our generation is definitely the one,” said Umu Tarawally, a 14-year-old Gambian who aspires to be a doctor and patiently explained to an assembled audience of dignitaries how groundnut shells could be converted into fuel.

Her friends, she added, were telling her they want to become engineers following a week of robot and tech workshops.

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Young Meryl Streep Appreciation Post

“Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.”
-Meryl Streep

Xhosa - South Africa

Xhosa people are a Bantu ethnic group from South Africa. The name “Xhosa” comes from that of a legendary leader and King called uXhosa. There are approximately 8 million Xhosa people in South Africa, and the Xhosa language is the countries second most-populous language in the country, after Zulu. 

Xhosa women have a history of wearing traditional head wraps, that would increase in size as the woman aged. For special events, the head wraps would be even large and more elaborate than usual.